While Time Crisis 1 was an excellent and innovative game for it’s time, #2 managed to improve upon it in every way.
Released in arcades in 3 years after it’s successor in 1998, Time Crisis 2 featured a new visual cue to alert the player of incoming fire, an increased bullet capacity from 6 to 9, the limited inclusion of a new weapon, (a machine gun) and the option to play the game co-operatively with a friend.
The new visual cue, dubbed the “Crisis Flash” system, would go on to become a staple of the series included in every subsequent sequel.
The “Crisis Flash” was a rose colored flash that would emit from from incoming bullets just a moment before striking the player.
The system was created in response to the sometimes random instances in which the player would get hit.
While enemies’ colors denote their accuracy levels in all Time Crisis games, in the original there were some instances in which the seemingly harmless blue enemies would somehow turn into deadshots.
Time Crisis 2 corrected this by affording the player with an opportunity, however brief, to avoid any instance of potential harm.
This, along with most of the other new features in the game, served to lower the difficulty of Time Crisis 2 in comparison with it’s predecessor, while at the same time making it more accessible and fun to novice and expert players alike.
The increased bullet count per load in Time Crisis 2 was, in my opinion, one of the most significant improvements from Time Crisis 1.
The original Time Crisis had the player using 6 bullets per load, a number that, while standard for the time, was somewhat difficult to work with.
“Time” was a huge factor in the original Time Crisis.
The player was afforded 40 seconds to deal with any one situation, with extra time awarded for killing orange enemies or reaching checkpoints.
The timer would count down at all times, even during scene transitions when the player was unable to control the game.
Running out of time in Time Crisis would result in a game over, while in all of it’s sequels, the player merely loses 1 hit point.
While enemies rarely swarmed you, it was often difficult to effectively dispatch any one wave of enemies with a single load of 6 rounds.
This would often force the player to duck and cover repeatedly for every wave, thusly draining your precious time limit quite rapidly.
While the enemy count on screen was bolstered significantly from the first game, Time Crisis 2 granted the player flexibility in dealing with them by giving them 3 extra bullets to mount a more sustained offensive, and a more forgiving time limit for times when the player needed time to collect themselves.
Time Crisis 2 marked the first time in franchise history that the player could acquire new weapons during the game.
The only other weapon available in Time Crisis 2 besides the default infinite ammo pistol, was a machine gun given to the player for very specific situations.
The “situations” in question were a few instances in which the player was faced with the challenge of taking on heavily armed APC’s.
When using the machine gun, the player would be treated to the advantages of automatic fire, and unlimited ammo.
Unfortunately, the game’s player characters, Keith and Robert would always see fit to discard these wonderful guns upon taking out the APC’s, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”
Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but hey, the game would probably be too easy if they let you keep the machine guns.
Just ask Time Crisis 3…
Despite all of the neat little improvements that Time Crisis 2 made over it’s predecessor, by far the most significant of these was the addition of two player co-op gameplay.
Light gun games and co-op go together like spaghetti and meatballs.
Despite this, it’s easy to understand why the original Time Crisis didn’t include the feature.
Namco already broke the mold by introducing the “Hide and Shoot” pedal mechanic, and the creative fatigue associated with this, coupled with the technical limitations of 1995, probably resulted in them being unable to incorporate the feature.
At least that’s my guess.
Co-op in Time Crisis 2 was executed in a unique and brilliant fashion.
While virtually every light gun game before had the player characters occupying the same field of vision, on the same screen, the Time Crisis 2 arcade cabinet was split into 2 separate screens, allowing for instances in which the two players would split up, viewing the same scene from different angles.
This, combined with the nifty recoiling light guns, made for an exciting and colorful experience, wherein the two players would often times be caught up in cross fires while trying to cover one another.
It also made it possible for the two players to mess around and shoot one another if they so desired.
Fortunately, the game only penalizes the players for doing so by removing points, not by damaging the player.
Whatever man, you’d have done it too…
I played Time Crisis 2 like a mad man in the arcade, but it wasn’t until I bought it on the Playstation 2 that I truly began to love it.
The PS2 port of Time Crisis 2 came out in 2001, and, like it’s predecessor, it featured a lot of bonus content.
The game featured remixed music, a massive graphical face lift, optional permanent weapon enhancements, the option to play the game “mirrored” with enemies appearing in new places, and a number of scenario missions called “Crisis Missions.”
All of these features, as well as a few others, resulted in a console light gun game that was hard to get tired of.
Done with the single player game?
Play it “mirrored” and you’ve got basically a whole new game on your hands.
Done with “mirror” mode?
Try playing through the game with a shotgun, see how it feels.
Try 5-Hour Energy.
*Ahem!* Sorry about that, WAY too many Hulu ads.
The “Crisis Missions” were essentially training missions designed to challenge your skills and help you become a better player.
Either that or they were just cruel jokes meant to make you feel dumb for being unable to complete them.
In short, the “Crisis Missions” were very hard, much harder than the story mode of the game, even on the hard settings.
Most of my memories of “Crisis Mode” are ones of contempt and frustration.
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t one of those guys that break things when they get mad, otherwise I’d have a lot of broken GunCons.
The story of Time Crisis 2 is standard action movie fare, however it’s progression is a little bit muddled and detached, resulting in an experience that isn’t nearly as memorable or dear to me as the the first game’s.
Using his company as a front, Diaz intends to launch a nuclear satellite into space so he can… Well, it’s never really explained as to what he intends to do, but whatever, you end up killing him anyway so it’s all good.
As members of VSSE, Keith and Robert, it’s your job to take on Diaz and his thugs, destroy the satellite, and rescue Christy, an agent assigned to infiltrate Neodyne.
It’s a good thing that “No One Can Beat Them,” otherwise that’d be a tall order.
Skip to 2:10 or risk losing your sanity:
On the way, you encounter a series of strange and colorful bosses.
The first is a man named Jakov Kinisky, a weasly and effeminite man in a pink shirt and black suit that carries a suitcase.
Oh yeah, and a machine pistol.
You spend the entirety of the first stage chasing Jakov through the streets of a picturesque town and port, literally knocking him on his ass everytime he makes the mistake of trying to shoot back at you.
Eventually, you chase Jakov onto a heavily armed and armored speed boat, which leads to a crazy boat chase complete with attack divers that try to shank you at every corner.
After disposing of the boats defenses, you then cap Jakov in his face, thusly causing the boat to crash, and yes, explode.
Using the intel gathered from Jakov’s precious suitcase, Keith and Robert drive off to intercept a train that is carrying the nuclear satellite.
And yes, “No One Can Beat Them.”
After a hard fought battle, our heroes are faced with the challenge of taking on a black man so tough, they saw fit to give him a Russian accent: BUFF Bryant.
Seriously, BUFF Bryant.
The only other Buff I’ve ever heard of was Buff Bagwell, and he wasn’t nothin’ compared to Mr. Bryant.
As BUFF makes his entrance, a helicopter shows up, airlifting the nuclear satellite off the train and out carrying it far off into the distance.
None of that matters though ’cause BUFF sees fit to distract our heroes by spraying fire at them with a train mounted minigun.
When that proves ineffectual, BUFF casually hops out of his seat, strolls over to a surface-to-air missile stowed on the train car, and proceeds to pick it up to club you over the head with.
What the fuck Namco, did I miss something?
I can understand if the man’s supposed to be bulletproof, ’cause he’s wearing nothin’ but a dress shirt and suspenders and somehow it takes like 50 rounds to make him flinch, but when the guy starts picking up 30 foot long missiles, then I just get confused.
It must be the pimp-ass suspenders, after all, Wild Dog’s got ’em and you saw all the crazy shit he was doing in Time Crisis 1…
Anyway, BUFF drops the missile eventually, whereupon he decides to pick up his minigun and hop onto a nearby helicopter with it.
After doing a few passes on you, eventually BUFF takes one too many bullets to the face and he rears back in his seat, shooting out the Jesus bolt in his helicopter in the process, thusly causing, you guessed, an explosion.
For whatever reason, the train starts to fall off a cliff after this, thusly forcing Keith and Robert to flee the ensuing destruction and explosions.
Fortunately, “No One Can Beat Them,” and after a bunch of stupid bullshit involving Last Crusade nonsense and inept guards, our heroes manage to commandeer a nearby helicopter that just happens to have a pre-programmed flight pattern for Ernesto Diaz’s island hideout.
With that, our heroes head over to the island and start killin’ bitches.
Armed with a brand new robotic gatling gun arm and a fatty new facial scar to boot, Wild Dog puts the hurt on our heroes while Diaz hangs back and shoots rockets at them every now and again, you know, like you do.
Despite looking, unbelievably; even more pimp than ever before, Wild Dog is nothing more than a minor obstacle in Time Crisis 2.
“Obstacle” being the operative word in that sentence.
In Time Crisis 1, Wild Dog was the big boss, the guy you had to kill to get to the end, while in the sequel he comes across more as an element of the level design than a concrete “presence” or character in the game.
In either case, being as “No One Can Beat” Keith and Robert, (Note: “No One Can Beat Them”) Wild Dog ends up gettin’ capped somethin’ fierce, only this time he makes the conscious decision to click his “Magic Button of Explosiveness” on himself, thusly setting off a charge in his robotic arm and causing him to explode.
Anyway, upon seeing the pimpest man in existence extinguish his own life in a blaze of B ADASS glory, Diaz rabbits like a little bitch and takes Christy with him.
Chasing Diaz through the installation, Keith and Robert manages to cap Diaz in the face enough times to make him let go of Christy, though in an act of douchebaggery he actually has the nerve to try and toss her ass into a fuckin’ hole.
I’m amazed he even tried to put up a fight, after all, “No One Can Beat Them.”
Fortunately, Christy is saved just in time by our heroes, thusly leading to the final battle.
With the shuttle carrying the nuclear satellite beginning it’s launch sequence, Diaz confronts our heroes at the top of the launch platform while straddling a dummy satellite mounted on a complex armature.
Despite being a dummy model for a nuclear satellite, the machine proves to be heavily armed with conventional weapons like laser beams and rockets.
Once again, I don’t get it, but whatever, it’s hella’ fun to shoot to shit.
Taking potshots at you while hiding behind his mechanical monstrosity, Diaz proves to be a decent, if not colorful challenge, however he doesn’t even come close to approaching the level of difficulty that Sherudo or Wild Dog achieved in Time Crisis 1.
It isn’t long before Diaz and his satellite, quite literally, fall before the power of Keith and Robert’s infinite ammo pistols.
Oh yeah, and “No One Can Beat Them.”
Diaz and the dummy satellite fall onto the launching shuttle, thusly damaging it enough to stop it’s ascent and destroy the installation in the process.
With that, our heroes are blown out to sea, whereupon they are greeted by the sight of Christy driving over to them in an inflatable raft.
Cue BLATANT rip-off of music from The Rock, roll credits, everyone fucks, the end.
Time Crisis 2’s soundtrack, both in the arcade, and remixed on the console, was nothing to write home about.
The Time Crisis theme is evident throughout the game, however the intensity level of everything is significantly taken down a notch.
I mentioned that the ending theme of the game is, in my opinion, a rip-off of the theme from the movie The Rock.
In case you’re curious, here’s the evidence of my claim:
Skip to 9:05 for the source material:
Now skip to :40 of this one, and tell me they aren’t nearly identical:
In the console version of the game, this theme, ripped-off or not, is repeated throughout the game at several points, most notably during stage 2.
Rip-off or not, this theme can’t hold a candle to the original Time Crisis theme.
Wild Dog’s theme is thankfully reused for his appearance in the game, though once again, the intensity level just isn’t there.
Time Crisis 2 stands as my favorite light gun game of all time.
It may not have connected with me on as personal a level as the first in the series, but sometimes that’s not important.
Because Bloodsport is a fucking fun-ass movie and Shawshank requires a bit more investment than I prefer to give in most cases.
Time Crisis 2 was just plain fun, end of story.